TdF 2017 – The final countdown

I could have tried to come up with a more interesting post than last year, but it was easier to just cut/paste the words! So… I have done the tally and come up with the winners. In years past I have dragged this out for a few days, but as the suspense in probably killing you I will cut to the chase and get it done now. Plus, I actually do have some work to do…

Polka Dot Jersey

So the first points tally will be from the Polka Dot jersey. Points awarded for the top 15 in that category. Here are the top 10 and bottom 10 so you can see the drama unfolding.

Top 10 Ranked scores after stage PD
Rank Prev Direction Player Score
1 1 Heartthrobs01 1629
2 2 SuperFish 1550
3 3 Mrs Spunker 1373
4 7 ↑3 JCB 1358
5 5 The Bulldozer 1285
6 9 ↑3 QV1 1283
7 6 ↓1 Dr M 1281
8 4 ↓4 Heartthrobs04 1280
9 24 ↑15 Coast2Coast 1274
10 8 ↓2 Mrs Trab 1265
Bottom 10 Ranked scores after stage PD
Rank Prev Direction Player Score
247 250 ↑3 Cat Six 3 336
248 247 ↓1 Gjulia Ovest 314
249 248 ↓1 Rital59 312
250 249 ↓1 Pussy 302
251 251 Beyond Blue 1 293
252 252 ELC 280
253 253 Ripley 2 278
254 254 SaveTheChildren2 275
255 256 ↑1 Dai the Kilt 256
256 255 ↓1 Snicko 5 240

This year it is not as close as Heartthrobs01 has dominated from week 1. A few other notable players being Superfish, my pick for the win, and Mrs Spunker, who gets a mention in the hope I will ever get a dinner invite again after stitching her up in week 3! So no change in the top 3, but Coast2Coast makes a surge into the top 10. Big mover was Cloggie Dockers up 99 places to 69th. Might be a bit late for him, but a good run from the Cloggies winning the final stage into Paris and coming 1st loser in MasterChef last night. No change in the bottom 6 apart from Snicko 5 replacing Dai the Kilt at the bottom. Snicko is the owner of the Hearththrobs teams, can he bookend this years competition?

Green Jersey

Next points added were the green jersey points. No change in the position of the top 2 but with Superfish having Matthews and Heartthrobs01 having the useless Bouhanni, the gap has closed to just 5 points. These 2 look like our winners with the gap to 3rd spot and JCB growing to over 300 points. Mrs Spunker starts her fall from grace, while Coast2Coasts surge is thwarted and he drops back out of contention. Big mover is SaveTheChildren4 up 69 places into the top 70. Too much too late. No change in the bottom 4 with Snicko looking good over Dai the Kilt for the lantern rouge with only the yellow jersey points to go.

Top 10 Ranked scores after stage G
Rank Prev Direction Player Score
1 1 Heartthrobs01 1791
2 2 SuperFish 1786
3 4 ↑1 JCB 1474
4 16 ↑12 Paddles 1459
5 3 ↓2 Mrs Spunker 1425
6 21 ↑15 Grumpy Guts 1372
7 18 ↑11 NiDe 1363
8 7 ↓1 Dr M 1361
9 13 ↑4 Caffeine Junkie 1355
10 22 ↑12 Chuck Charity 17 1341
Bottom Ranked scores after stage G
Rank Prev Direction Player Score
247 246 ↓1 Rainbird 362
248 250 ↑2 Pussy 346
249 252 ↑3 ELC 324
250 248 ↓2 Gjulia Ovest 314
251 249 ↓2 Rital59 312
252 251 ↓1 Beyond Blue 1 293
253 253 Ripley 2 278
254 254 SaveTheChildren2 275
255 255 Dai the Kilt 272
256 256 Snicko 5 240

Yellow Jersey

Finally onto the Yellow jersey points. There are points for the top 20 in this classification, so this is often where the movers and shakers come to the front. Hearththrobs01 holds on to 1st place from Superfish, a previous winner, but only just, with a slim victory of 17 points after 3 hard weeks. JCB hangs on for 3rd spot. Insignificant biggest mover was MacCardi Saison up 101 places to sneak into 55th! The coveted Lantern Rouge this year goes to Snick 5 who held off a late charge from Ripley 2 to book-end the competition, winning money at both ends. Dai the Kilt faded badely, gaining points to take him out of the prize money.

Top 10 Ranked scores after stage Y
Rank Prev Direction Player Score
1 1 Heartthrobs01 2203
2 2 SuperFish 2186
3 3 JCB 1874
4 9 ↑5 Caffeine Junkie 1775
5 8 ↑3 Dr M 1773
6 7 ↑1 NiDe 1763
7 13 ↑6 QV1 1743
8 12 ↑4 Dungeon Master 1728
9 14 ↑5 The Bulldozer 1721
10 16 ↑6 Mrs Trab 1701
Bottom 10 Ranked scores after stage Y
Rank Prev Direction Player Score
247 245 ↓2 Heartthrobs06 441
248 254 ↑6 SaveTheChildren2 427
249 250 ↑1 Gjulia Ovest 410
250 244 ↓6 Nice Package 384
251 246 ↓5 Little Ted 364
252 247 ↓5 Rainbird 362
253 248 ↓5 Pussy 358
254 249 ↓5 ELC 324
255 253 ↓2 Ripley 2 278
256 256 Snicko 5 240

Team Prize

The team prize is awarded, just like in the tour, for the lowest time of the best 3 riders in your final team against the team of everyone else. This years team prize goes to Charity Fish, the Charity team of Superfish. From being nowhere at the end of the final stage it has been a profitable final reckoning for Superfish. It is funny that the best place team that had the overall winner, Froome, in their team was only 30th.

CharityFish 259:24:41 (Uran, Yates, Caruso)
Coast2Coast 259:39:08 (Bardet, Barguil, Vuillermoz)
Gags05 259:46:47 (Landa, Meintjes, Buchmann)
Mrs Green Machine 260:58:01 (Martin, Mollema, Hardy)
Mat le Chat 261:00:07 (Bardet, Pauwels, Navarro)

So onto the prizes. There were a couple of random position prizes as well. So the full list of prize winners were:

Category Prize Team
1st $180.00 Heartthrobs01
2nd $90.00 Superfish
3rd $60.00 JCB
4th $40.00 Caffeine Junkies
5th $30.00 Dr M
6th $20.00 NiDe
7th $10.00 QV1
5th Last $10.00 Rainbird
4th Last $20.00 Pussy
3rd last $30.00 ELC
2nd Last $50.00 Ripley 2
Last $80.00 Snicko 5
51st Place $10.00 Puffy
102nd Place $10.00 Gaz
153rd Place $10.00 Gags07
Leader on Rest day 1 $30.00 Heartthrobs01
2nd place on Rest day 1 $20.00 Mrs Spunker
3rd place on Rest day 1 $10.00 Heartthrobs04
Leader on Rest day 2 $30.00 Heartthrobs04
2nd place on Rest day 2 $20.00 Mrs Spunker
3rd place on Rest day 2 $10.00 Heartthrobs01
Bastille Day 1st points $30.00 Mrs Trab
Bastille Day 2nd points $20.00 Angry Ted
Bastille Day 3rd points $10.00 Stockcarracer Yello
Winner Team Time Trial $0.00  No TTT this year
Team Prize $60.00 Charity Fish

Please let me know what your would like me to do with the winnings, donate all or some to charity, give me your bank details so I can transfer, or whatever. So that’s it for another year, time for a rest…

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TdF Stage 21 – No road to green for Groenewegen, but Champs Elysee stage saves tour.

Not sure why the coverage was so late last night, but I managed to stay up and watch the usual backslapping, champagne drinking tomfoolery that precedes the 58km of madness around the Champs Elysee. With Kittel at home watching on TV it was an open race for many contenders. Greipel was favorite, but has looked a bit out of form, Matthews I did not think would figure as already wearing green there were more hungry sprinters out there. Bouhanni is rubbish. My pick was Dekankolb, only because I can find a cheesy headline easily for him. Then there was Kristoff, past it, and Groenewegen. It was the young Dutch sprinter who wanted it more than anyone else and he surprised the others, mainly Greipel, by going at 300m to go. He got the jump and even though Greipel finished fast, he missed out yet again.

There was a bit of controversy around the awarding or the Prix Combative. It went to Barguil when the rest of the world thought it should go to Thomas de Gendt. Thomas spent over 1000km in breakaways, and I think I gave him a mention the other day just for that. But the jury of 6 (5 French) though Barguil should get it. After reading various opinions, I am in two minds. They both animated the race, with both of them going for KOM points. Barguil was more successful in that so maybe he deserved it. But De Gendt was in 11 breaks to Barguils 4, and he tried to get in to 4 more. Either way Lotto should be pleased with the TV coverage they received from the Belgian, and the fact more people are talking about this now than would have if he had won it.

So the final daily points have been allocated. For the newbies that is not the end. Over the next day or so teams will also be allocated points for riders positions in the Yellow, Green and spotty jersey competitions. So the final leader after 21 stages is Heartthrobs01, with SuperFish losing some ground thanks to EBH and Bouhanni getting 3rd and 4th for Heartthrobs01. It will be a tight finish once the jersey points are allocated. Final big mover mention for the stages goes to Gordo 2, up from 151st to 101st. Dai the Kilt must be getting tired of the daily mention for the Lantern Rouge, but with Snicko5 on the hunt for the prize money, this could be his last mention. It will be tight at the bottom as well…

TdF Stage 20 – Pole Bodnar dances to victory

After being caught almost on the line in Stage 11 he finally got his revenge and a stage victory. Time trials are not the most interesting race to watch, but they did a great job by having the start and finish in the Stade Velodrome in Marseille. This is the football stadium of the Marseille and not actually a velodrome anymore. The main drama of the day was would Bardet hang on to a podium spot. He is a bit rubbish at the TT and had Landa just over a minute behind. In the end he gave the crowds in the stadium some drama by hanging on by just 1 second! Barguil seemed more interested in smiling and waving to the crowd rather than hanging on to his 9th place, and he duly lost it to Contador who had a really good TT. Not much else to say really. Froome came third to seal his 4th TdF title, this time without winning a single stage.

Bit of shuffling at the top, but Heartthrobs01 holds on to top spot, but previous champ Superfish is making his move, and is now only 169 points behind. Last nights big mover was Lada Gaga up a massive 91 places from 163rd to 72nd place. No change at the bottom with Dai the Kilt maintaining his negative lead in the Lantern Rouge comp.

Short report today, am exhausted…

TdF Stage 19 – Eddy the Boss of Provence

Sitting at home listening to Chet Baker as I write today’s report has me reflecting on the appropriateness of the situation with Edvald Boasen Hagen’s win. Chet Bakers grandmother was a Norwegian, a little know and probably useless fact. But without Phil and Paul adding their useless bird watching and other such nonsense into the days commentary, I thought I would take a leaf out of their book and bore you with some inane facts as I listen to some bitchin trumpet playing.

I have to admit I got dropped last night and fell asleep on the couch without really seeing a pedal turned in anger! It has been a long tour and the fatigue showed yesterday morning when I rode with Spunker, Paddles and Il Papa from the Coglioni. But as bad as it is for me, you have to feel sorry for Ondrej Cink and Timo Roosen who DNFed yesterday on the tours longest stage. They have fought through over 3000km and 3 weeks of pain, misery and suffering. They have gotten over the alps over the last 2 days and finished within the time limit. Only to fail, almost in view of Paris, figuratively speaking. With only a 22km time trial and the procession into Paris to go, they must be gutted.

So I got up early, bought some baguettes and watched the highlights. I had picked EBH as last nights winner in a conversation at work with Dravo (PMH Peripatetic Porcines and other teams). But I thought it would go to a sprint, I had not expected the likable Norwegian to get in the break and then ride away with 2km to go and solo across the line. With 2 second places, one by 6mm, and 2 third places, Eddy did not want to be involved in yet another photo finish, so took matters into his own hands. It has been a lean couple of years, but he has looked in good nick this tour, and finally got his just desserts.

I have to give a mention to Thomas De Gendt. I think Lotto Soudal will be happy with the amount of television coverage he has given them over the last 3 weeks. Maybe he just doesn’t like riding with his team mates and keeps getting in breakaways. But I cannot think of a day in this tour when you have not seen him at the front of the race, either in a break, or driving the peloton to bring the break back. He must just hate it when he is not in the break himself, so spoils it for those that are.

A total failure notwithstanding, Froomey has won the tour. He may win the TT tonight, but Tony Martin is still in the race, as well as a couple of other good “testers”. If he fails, he will be the first rider since 2006 to win the race without winning a stage. It should be an interesting TT. While I am on a roll predicting stage winners, Tony Martin tonight and I will stick my neck out and say John Dekankolb for the final in Paris. I don’t think Kristoff is good enough, and Greipel seems beaten already inside his head. No doubt the Gorilla will now prove me wrong.

Yawn, no change at the top of the table with Heartthrobs01 consolidating his lead thanks to Eddy “The Boss”. But watch out for The Bulldozer, who is coming up on the rails as the final 2 days approach. Just building him up for failure… Today’s big mover mention goes to Chuck Charity 11, another of the comps big donators, up 69 spots to settle in to mid table mediocrity.  No change in the bottom six now, they really must have rubbish teams. Dai the Kilt gets another mention for holding onto the Lantern Rouge, surely he is favorite for the $80 last place prize now?

TdF Stage 18 – Breton Barguil bags a brace

Sunweb are having a cracking tour. Two stages each for Matthews and now Barguil, as well as the green and spotty jerseys now sewn up. Don’t write Matthews off for another stage tonight either. Once again the scenery was brilliant, the attacking was excellent, and the result, for the French was the right one. Bardet tried to get rid of Froome, and Froome tried to get rid of Bardet, but in the end it was a stalemate. Three riders within 30 seconds is the closest the tour has been for years. Froome is still favorite for the TT on Saturday, but don’t write off Uran just yet. He can Time Trial a bit and will surely overhaul Bardet. If he has a good day and Froome has a bad day, anything could happen.

Some observations from last night. I love watching Kwiatkowski totally empty the tank for his leader. A spectator would have got a nice pair of Oakley glasses as a souvenir as Kwito took them off and tossed them to the side of the road, his face etched in pain. It was not long after that that he peeled off, job done and empty. So empty in fact, that he unclipped and stopped. I wonder if he had a little spew as well.

So I got a message from a tipster that he had read this on a FB post from one of our South African friends: “I am now so sick and tired of hearing the name Michael Matthews uttered from the lips of these two Aussie commentators on the Tour de France. Just wish I could get another commentary channel. I have also noticed that any commentary on landmarks, places of interest and historical buildings have virtually evaporated from these two idiots. Maybe the French names are too difficult to pronounce. Bring back Phil and Paul.” There was also an article in the Guardian of a similar vein, that stated that the person missed Paul’s insightful knowledge of the various Chateaus.  Unfortunately I have to disagree and last night made a point to take notice. I am sure these people are unaware that Matt and Robbie do not have any control of what the helicopters take pictures of. Plus I am sure French Tourism has an arrangement with ASO, the tour organizers, to cover things of natural beauty and historical interest. Maybe Matt and Robbie don’t read the prepackaged cheat sheets with the same gusto as Paul did, but I can tell you now that Paul was just reading the same words from the same notes. Matt Keenan is far more knowledgeable that P&P ever were. OK, maybe not about bird watching or castles, but he knows a thing or two and can at least recognize the riders. Are we watching Getaway, or are we watching a bike race?

A couple of Matt Keenan quotes, one that made me laugh and one that is bordering on a Sherwenism. Both relating to Barguils attack as he closed in on Darwin Attapuma:

“He is flirting with the red zone, but is not taking it out for dinner” – I laughed

“He’s dangling like a carrot in front of a greyhound” – Is this the new ethical stance to greyhound racing in NSW, using veggies instead of rabbits?

Finally Tommo. In summing up Tommo asked Henk Vogels, who, by the way, still owes me a beer, and said something along the lines of “The yellow jersey can give you wings, but maybe the promise of it will give Bardet wings in the Time Trial”. What universe are you from Tommo? Bardet cannot time trial, in fact if Fromme had a bad day and Bardet a good day, Froome would still smash him. Bardet will be lucky to hold on to the podium spot he currently has. Please Tommo, stop spouting rubbish for the sake of sensationalism.

Oh yeah, the tipping comp… No change at the top with the top 5 staying where they are led by Heartthrobs01. Big mover of the day, and the first of my Biking the Boot chums to get a mention this year is Trentino Guida Eccellente up 65 spots to break into the top 70.  Also no change with the bottom 4 with Dai the Kilt holding up the table for another day.

TdF Stage 17 – O’Dirty finally gets a mention

In 10 years of running this competition I have finally achieved something. I was the biggest mover of the day up 59 places to break into the top 100! Thanks to a great breakaway from Primoz Roglic who took the stage that crested the Galibier. I was out for dinner with a few friends last night, one of which was The Dark Horse, who may be iving up to her name as she leapt into 5th place. I was trying not to see any coverage, but she was getting a bit excited watching the Tour Tracker on my phone. Now I know why, with both Roglic and Uran, the TdF Dark Horse, in her team she cleaned up on the points last night. Some other contenders came into play last night as well, with previous competition winner, Superfish, showing his hand. And with a full house of Froome and Matthews he now looks to be in the box seat.

It was a cracking stage, with Matthews once again getting the intermediate sprint points to close the gap to Kittel to just 9 points. It was shaping up for a classic show down on the Champs Elysee, with Kittel still favorite to take the Green jersey. That was until Kittel crashed after 20km. Interestingly Matthews team mate Barguil was also involved. Surely there was no nefarious involvement from the Breton. The main contenders attacked each other with Froome following wheels until eventually there were a few chinks found with Aru and Yates, both losing a bit of time and places. Dan Martin tried to get back some of the time he lost in yesterday split and succeeded in overhauling Yates, but lost another 30 seconds to the main favorites. Froome, Uran and Bardet look to be favorites for the podium in Paris, although with tonight’s mountain top finish on the Col D’Izoard anything could still happen.

The Heartthrobs duo kept their stranglehold on the top of the table, with Mrs Spunker hanging on to third. There was no change at the foot of the table with Dai the Kilt gamely hanging on to the Lantern Rouge spot.

TdF Stage 16 – Bling eyes up shiny new emerald

I have to admit I had written Bling Matthews off in his chase for the Green jersey, but he is doing his best to animate that competition, taking a maximum of 50 points in yesterdays stage. Looking at the profile over the next 3 days he certainly has a chance to collect more points over Kittel. The question will be will he have enough as Kittel is sure to pull everyone’s legs off in Paris, that is if he is still in the race after tonight’s Galibier stage.

As for the sprint, it looked clean enough to me, not really sure what the copper is moaning about. They came off a bend and sure Bling looked to squeeze Dege towards the barriers, but I reckon I could have got my fat ass through the gap Matthews left for him. Commissars said it was clean, and of course the haters on the blogs all have their conspiracy theories. I think they will kiss and make up once the disappointment has subsided for Dekenkolb.

I feel I have been quite lenient on Tommo this year. Normally I have had Phil and Paul to satisfy my frustrations with their inept commentary. Matt and Robbie have certainly not made many mistakes. Even Tommo has not been too bad, but I think it is time I gave him a serve. A few days ago he had Cameron Wurf on as a guest commentator. He introduced him as Cameron Meyer, a usual Tommo gaff. Cam took it all quite well, with just a wry smile and roll of the eyes. Then last night talking about “Dan Martin the Irishman, in fact he lives in England these days.” Come on Tommo, do your research. Dan Martin was born in England (Birmingham) and has always lived in England. He speaks with an English accent. His mother is Stephen Roches sister, so bit of Irish pedigree there. But his dad was Neil Martin, a Britiah pro. Dan has always lived and raced in England. In fact he tried to become part of the UK structure but they were not interested, so he took out an Irish license. Personally, I am glad we (being a paddy) have him. Tommo, do your research, believe it or not, it is your job, not mine.

So a new week, a new team and new hopes to be dashed for my tippers. I suspect I won’t be invited for dinner at Mrs Spunkers place after the redraw. She was doing well for the last 2 weeks, but I suspect her fall from grace has began. The opposite could be said for the other 2 teams jostling at the top, Heartthrobs01 and Heartthrobs04. They both did well in the redraw and I wonder if we are looking at a battle to emulate what will hopefully be the battle between Froome and Bardet over the next 2 nights. But sure fire winners have often come up short when the final points are allocated, we shall see after Sunday. At the bottom Dai the Kilt is still gamely hanging on for the last place prize of $80. But with Aru in his new team he may be picking up a few points over the next 2 nights. Big mover was Fat lasses at the back up 65 places to sneak into the top 100. But with Quintana fatigued and cracking I wonder if many more points will be coming her way.

If you haven’t watched much of the tour yet then I suggest the next 2 nights should offer up some exciting viewing. This is the closest tour in years for both the yellow and the green jerseys. Giddy up!

TdF Stage 15 – Book worm Baukes – stage win first edition

Whoever said this was a boring tour needs to take a good look at themselves, because they have no clue what they are talking about. Four riders within 30 seconds of each other on GC, with another 2 with 80 seconds. Riders prepared to have a crack at Chris Froome, and some new tactics not out of the race book. This weekends racing has been brilliant. Barguil continued to impress in his hunt for spotty points, although I think Blings charge for green is now over as the 1st Cat climb last night was his undoing. Bauke Mollema seized on Sky’s willingness for the break to succeed and broke away after the 1st cat climb and held of the pursuers to take a maiden win in the Tour. He has threatened for many years and has been consistent in his GC aspirations, but finally he has landed a Nobel winning move.

The move of the day has to go to the AG2R team. The whole team went to the front and then proceeded to pile the pressure on on the rolling foothills before the 1st cat climb. This had the whole peloton strung out in a line, with a gap to the Sky led train. Belgian champ, Oliver Naesen, lit it up which caused some panic in the Sky led train. Eventually they made contact and got back up, and just when Froome thought he was safe he had a mechanical issue with his rear wheel. Why they continue to use Shimano wheels after Tirreno-Adriatico and the exploding wheel incident I will never know. ShamaNO! Anyway, he took Michal Kwiatkowski’s wheel and set off in chase of the AG2R led freight train. It took a long time for him to catch back on using various teammates along the way, but hook on he did. Just at that time Dan Martin took off and managed to sneak away for 14 seconds, which moved him over Mikel Landa in the GC. Martin should be either in Yellow or at least on the podium if he had not cynically been taken out by Richie Porte… Froome will be glad of the rest day to recover from the efforts of today I imagine.

While the Tour may not be boring, the Tipping Comp has a certain level of inevitability to it. No change in the top 3 as we dish out the rest day prizes. Heartthrobs04 gets $30, Mrs Spunker $20 and Hearththrobs01 the $10. A late change by tipping comp stalwart Albany Postal saw him fall short by 100+ points. Today’s big mover mention goes to Dicky Knees, up 88 places from just inside the top 200 to just outside the top 100. No change in the bottom 3 with Dai the Kilt holding off Pussy to take the Lantern Rouge into the rest day.

So tonight there will be a rest day redraw which I am sure you are all excited about. A chance to get rid of Sagan and the useless Cavendish from your teams and replace them with some new blood. But can anyone catch the top 3 who have been solid since the competition began. The final week will tell.

TdF Stage 14 – Bling takes a gem of a win in Rodez.

No real surprise in the stage win, especially with Sagan at home. Michael “Bling” Matthews delivered the stage win he would have been planning on since last October when the route was announced. The only potential spanner in the works would have been Greg van Avermaet, the other expert at these finishes. Their Sunweb and BMC team nullified the race to ensure that the two strong sprinters would battle it out. In the end it went according to the script, and Bling was just a bit too strong, or a bit too hungry and took Sunwebs 2nd stage win in 2 days.

The other drama was Aru lost the yellow back to Froome with the Sky rider sneakily grabbing 7th place in the sprint and getting a gap back to the other riders.

Anyone else tired of Try Hard Tommy Voeckler? I know Robbie seems to be. He loves the camera so much. Always riding at the back where the camera are, sticking his tongue out, dousing himself with water in some kind of Bay Watch manner.

A similar battle is ensuing in the comp with Hearththrobs04 back on top in front of Mrs Spunker. It is looking likely that the same 3 teams will take the rest day prizes on Monday, even though the gaps are closing. Big mover, up 77 places, was Philpy. But he didn’t quite break into the top 100. Dai the Kilt holds onto the Lantern Rouge, although Pussy is making a bid for last spot with his particularly average team.

I forgot to announce the Bastille day prize winners yesterday. The team that scores the most points on Bastille day gets $30, with $20 for 2nd highest and $10 for 3rd highest. Mrs Trab had the most points with 180 so gets the $30, Angry Ted gets the $20 for 2nd spot with 163 points and Stockcarracer Yellow gets the $10 prize for 3rd with 145 points.

TdF Stage 13 – Bonus Bastille for Breton Barguil

Vive la France et vive Warran Barguil. On Frances national day, Le 14 Julliet or Bastille day as the rest of us call it, Frenchman and proud Breton Warren Barguil won on the day all Frenchmen want to win on. There has not been a French winner on the 14th July since David Moncoutié in 2005, a drought of 12 years. In fact the recent drought for French riders in general seems to be breaking with Bardet and Barguil leading the way. It was also the shortest road stage in the Tour for many years of just over 100km, so there were going to be fireworks. I probably did not expect them to be coming from Mikel Landa, Chris Froomes teammate. It will be interesting to see the relationship between the pair over the the coming days to see if it is similar to the Wiggins – Froome affair in 2012.

With 3 tough climbs on offer, Warren Barguil also made his bid for the polka dot jersey. There is still plenty of climbing to come, but he has a handy lead. It was also good to see Contador and Quintana go on the attack and grab back a couple of minutes. Quintana has finally woke up and is now only 2 minutes behind Froome, so hopefully there will be more attacking over the coming days. Matthews grabbed another 2 points back from Kittel to trim the gap to 128 points! Although joking aside there are a couple of stages coming up that might suit the Aussie sprinter a bit better. I still think Kittel has it sewn up.

For those Sagan loving idiots who said the tour is not worth watching without him, how wrong you are. This is the closest GC battle for years thankfully. Will Landa attack Froome, will Quintana pinch some more time, how is Uran traveling, and what about Aru and Bardet? Brilliant… Giddy up, gagging for tonight’s action.

No change at the top in the comp with Mrs Spunker holding on thanks to a few points from Bardet. Little bit of general shuffling at the top but we now have 6 charity teams in the top 10. Big mover was Stockcarracer Yellow, up 70 spots thanks to Barguil and Landa. However lets not get too excited, that moves him into 148th spot, not exactly challenging for a top spot! We also have a new Lantern Rouge with Dai the Kilt squeezing Snick 5 out of the coveted last place. My greatest honour in cycling was winning the Lantern Rouge in last years Goldfields classic. I did not come last on either of the 2 stages but my consistently poor performance over the 2 days say me take out the title. Much better than all the West Australian Lady Boys who chose not to start the 2nd stage and had to follow me in the bus at 30kph for 3 hours.

Tonight’s stage is one that may suit Matthews as it is a lumpy finish to Rodez.